Bullet Journaling—How To Break Down Your Goals So You Can Actually Accomplish Them

bullet journal

Bullet Journaling How To Set Goals Part II

In part one of this series, I explained how to use the goals pages (or any pages) of my NightOwl Journal to draw a life map and then your first 1-5 list.

Now you have your weekly and daily pages to help you track your progress. I say “track your progress” because I don’t believe in failing and neither should you.

Bullet Journal your goals tasks from your 5-1 list in the weekly pages.

Now open to the next week in your planner (at the time of this post that’s the last week in June, first week in July), and take the steps underneath the “2 days” part of your list and put it on the right side of your page below the stacked weeks. The blank space with the grid boxes. Leave space to draw dots or checkboxes later. For now, just start writing one or two spaces over from the middle edge of the page.

Why the right side? This is purely personal preference, but I use the right side for personal goals, and the left side for career. If your career is your home or you have some other way that makes sense to divide up the spaces, go for it. Bullet journaling is all about finding what works for you.

But my personal goals go on the right.

I’ve drawn my checkboxes already, but don’t feel pressured to do that just yet. You can also use dots, which are easier to draw, but checkboxes connect with me more and look a little neater. Use what you prefer.

Now bullet journal the goals’ tasks that should happen today in the daily list.

Now turn to the first blank page at the end of your weekly layouts.

There are many ways to use these pages, but the simplest and fastest for me is the one below. I don’t create the layouts ahead of time, but I know that tasks go on the top left of my page, so I just skip a few boxes down and a few in (in this case, it’s two from the left and fix boxes down, if you want to leave space for the other date and label). There’s where I write the tasks from my 5-1 list that I want to get done in one hour.

bullet journal

And as far as your goals, that’s about it. When you get those two lists done (daily and weekly), you can add the next baby steps of your goal in. I don’t plan far ahead because I don’t want to get frustrated when there are undone tasks. I just focus on the next one and move it around as often as I need to.

I use x’s to mark my tasks off, forward arrows to move them to the next day, and backwards arrows to reschedule them (anywhere). If you don’t get those first tasks done today, then either migrate them forward or schedule them in the weekly pages instead, just to pick them up another day and try again when you’ve gotten more sleep or the children are at a camp or watching a movie or whatever it may be that you need to give you some extra wind in your sails. (For more on iconography in bullet journaling, read this). Goals start, and continue, with baby steps.

Or….break them down into even smaller steps and try again.

And keep going until you’ve reached your goal. Every time you reach a step from the 5-1 list, go back and check it off. Every time you don’t, reflect. How much do you want this? Is there something else you can move out of your life to make the steps to this goal fit in? But remember how you felt when you drew your life map and 5-1 list. Don’t let self-sabotage convince you that you no longer care.

Every few months, I make a new 5-1 list (like the one on this page).

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